IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's not easy being green!: Fox 'News' goes to war with Kermit T. Frog!; Crunch week at UN climate talks; Million-dollar fines for Massey Energy's WV coal mine disaster; PLUS: Protesting the World Bank's major coal projects ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): BP accuses Halliburton of destroying evidence in Gulf Oil Spill; $50 million Gulf restoration fund urged; More radioactive water leaks from Japan's Fukushima plant; Climate change already severely impacting agriculture; Humans responsible for 3/4 of climate change; GOP Fail: Military housing solar project a 'go' ... PLUS: The brutal logic of climate change. It ain't pretty ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Fox News Brain Trust Goes to War with Kermit The Frog:
- VIDEO: Bolling Doubles Down On Attack On The Muppets: "How Much More Demonizing Can You Be To Capitalism? It's Terrible" (Media Matters)
- VIDEO: Fox Business' Follow The Money Unmasks The Muppets' Liberal Agenda: "Brainwashing" Your Kids! (Media Matters):
- Record Fines in Federal Settlement of Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster:
- Alpha to pay $200 million in landmark UBB safety deal (Charleston Gazette):
Alpha Natural Resources will spend $200 million on fines, victim restitution and mine safety improvements to resolve enforcement actions and some criminal matters arising from the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, the Gazette has learned.
Under the settlement, civil penalties for the Upper Big Branch Mine operators, Performance Coal Co., would be resolved. So would potential criminal liability for the company.
But unlike a previous government deal with Massey, the deal does not resolve any potential criminal violations by any officers or agents of Performance Coal or Massey, sources said.
- Deaths at UBB ‘entirely preventable,' MSHA report says (Charleston Gazette):
In a report made public this afternoon, MSHA says that actions by Massey and its Performance Coal Co. subsidiary --- now owned by Alpha Natural Resources --- "reflected a pervasive culture that valued production over safety."
MSHA's investigation team found that the disaster was caused in part by the company's "unwarrantable failure" to follow federal rules governing mine ventilation, roof control, and the cleanup of highly explosive coal dust.
- Massey Miners Disabled Methane Monitors Before Killer Explosion (Think Progress Green)
- Record Jump In Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2010:
- Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery.
[T]he increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.
The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades.
- COP17: the 17th Annual Conference of Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Durban, S. Africa
- Live Streaming & Video: WATCH the UN Climate Conference: (United Nations):
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban 2011, will bring together representatives of the world's governments, international organizations and civil society. The discussions will seek to advance, in a balanced fashion, the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the Bali Action Plan, agreed at COP 13 in 2007, and the Cancun Agreements, reached at COP 16 last December.
- A Practical Guide to DURBAN CoP 17 (Climate Himalaya)
- A User's Guide To The Climate Change Talks (NPR)
- Full Durban Coverage at The Scotsman: Durban climate blog (The Scotsman)
- Think Progress Full Coverage of the UN Climate Conference (Think Progress)
- UPDATE on COP17: the 17th Annual Conference of Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Durban, S. Africa:
- Durban talks unlikely to result in climate change deal (Guardian UK):
The key issues at the talks are now clear: whether the "green climate fund" is permitted to go ahead; the future of the Kyoto treaty, which is in grave doubt; and whether there can be a new global legally binding treaty on the climate in future, or a weaker compromise. What is still unclear, with just three full negotiating days to go, is whether any of these can be resolved.
- Top UN Climate Official Blasts U.S. Climate Policy: Americans Must Realize “This Is Their Future They’re Compromising” (Think Progress Green):
[The] U.S. population needs to understand that this is not just their historical responsibility, but this is their future that they’re compromising. And when that awareness is raised, then I think the government will make more ambitious decisions. I think there’s no public pressure in the United States to take any more ambitious decision.”
- Chinese climate negotiators raise possibility of global warming pact by 2020 (Washington Post):
Chinese climate negotiators raised the prospect of negotiating a legally binding climate pact at U.N. talks this weekend in South Africa, but the requirements they laid out for reaching that goal might make such a deal hard to reach.
- Exclusive Video: Top U.S. Climate Negotiator Todd Stern Questions China's Signal to Accept Binding Targets (Climate Progress)
- At Climate Talks, Back-room Deals Begin in Earnest (AP)
- India Emerges as Chief Opponent of a New Global-Warming Treaty (UK Independent)
- REDD: Durban deforestation agreement promotes transparency, scientific verification (Nature)
- China Digs Deeper Into Canadian Tar Sands During Durban Talks (Think Progress Green)
- Climate funds pledged for poor countries (Al Jazeera English)
- Cardinal: Failure At Durban Would Be A 'Moral Apartheid' (Think Progress Green):
During the special Mass at Emmanuel Cathedral in Durban, Cardinal Rodriguez also noted, "Just as South Africa's Apartheid era policies sought divisions along race lines, today the world's environment and energy policies divide man from nature."
Rodriguez has said that "the first-hand experience of Caritas staff in emergencies shows the poor will suffer the greatest."
- Chart: World Avoids Disruptive Carbon Emissions Cuts By Acting Now (Think Progress Green):
If the world delays until 2020 to respect the established 2-degree limit in global warming, as appears to be the growing consensus at the Durban climate change talks, emissions cuts will much more disruptive than if sufficient action is taken now, an analysis by Climate Interactive finds
- Durban climate conference sees shifting geopolitics (AFP)
- Rich nations 'give up' on new climate treaty until 2020 (Guardian UK): Ahead of critical talks and despite pledge for new treaty by 2012, biggest economies privately admit likelihood of long delay
- Qatar Wins Bid To Host 2012 Climate Talks (Guardian UK)
- COP 17: Protesting International Banking's Funding of Coal:
- Banks seen as climate culprits at global talks: report (Reuters):
Major global banks are exacerbating the fight against global warming by supplying power utilities and mining firms with ample funds to build coal-fired plants, according to a report released by non-governmental groups at the climate talks in Durban.
- Are banks to blame for climate change?: A report released by non-governmental groups at the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, said that major global banks bear responsibility for global warming by funding utilities and mining companies to build coal-fired power plants (Christian Science Monitor)
- Foreclosing the future: Investment in coal-fired power plants hinders the fight against global warming (Environmental Defense Fund):
[T]he World Bank and other international public financial institutions are continuing a 15-year trend of supporting coal-fired power plant construction throughout the developing world and economies in transition.
By financing this new carbon-intensive infrastructure, multilateral development banks (MDBs) and export credit agencies (ECAs) of the industrialized world are hamstringing the fight against global warming and setting back longer term efforts to alleviate poverty in the world's poorest countries.
- COP-17: Green Climate Fund ‘not enough’: Executive vice-president and chief administrative officer of American Electric Power says proposed $100bn-a-year fund is "woefully short" (Business Day)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Task Force Says BP Oil Spill Fines Should Go to Gulf Restoration (NY Times)
- More Radioactive Water Leaks at Japanese Plant (NY Times)
- Climate Trends Point to a Planet Increasingly Hostile to Agriculture: (Daily Climate):
A host of data - from sediment cores to ongoing drought in East Africa to computer models - point to one conclusion: Our increasingly hotter, drier planet is going to be a tough place to farm.
- Three-Quarters of Climate Change Is Man-Made (Nature News)
- After Solyndra loan woes, military solar project a go (Army Times):
A $1 billion solar energy project that lost a federal loan in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy and related investigations is back on track to nearly double the number of panels on residential rooftops in the U.S.
San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity said Wednesday that it had reached a deal with Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch unit for financing the five-year project called SolarStrong. The venture would put shimmering solar panels on 120,000 military houses in dozens of states.
- Fracking Driller to Stop Water to Families With Contaminated Wells in PA: (AP):
Families in a northeastern Pennsylvania village with tainted water wells will have to procure their own water for the first time in nearly three years as a natural-gas driller blamed for polluting the aquifer moves ahead with its plan to stop paying for daily deliveries.
- New estimate boosts permafrost contribution to climate change (Fairbanks Daily News Miner) [emphasis added]:
An international group of researchers believes greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost will be released at a much faster rate than previously estimated, which could have significant implications for climate change projections.
- A toxic river of poison: California County's New Idria mercury mine now a Superfund site (Santa Cruz Sentinel):
Every second of every day it flows: a river of poison gushing from the hillsides. Forty gallons a minute, 21 million gallons a year. It bubbles and gurgles across the landscape, a bright orange toxic brew, nearly as corrosive as battery acid, teeming with mercury, aluminum, iron and nickel, the legacy of a long-abandoned mine, relentlessly pouring into nearby streams.
"It is a toxic hell," said Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the EPA in San Francisco. "It epitomizes what Superfund is for."
- As Gas Riches Remake Plains, Rep. Boren (R-OK) Shares in Profits (NY Times):
The spreading wealth from gas fields has also benefited Representative Dan Boren, a Democrat who has deep family ties to the industry — and has acted as one of its best friends on Capitol Hill.
- White House Releases Report on Gulf Restoration: (AP):
The Obama administration has released a report on how the Gulf Coast can be restored following the nation's worst offshore oil spill after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana in April 2010. The report from the White House's Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Task Force comes out the same week Congress considers a bill designed to handle billions of dollars in Clean Water Act fines BP is expected to pay for the release of more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.
- BP says Halliburton 'intentionally destroyed evidence' after Gulf oil spill (CNN):
The accusation comes in court papers filed by BP Monday in federal court in New Orleans as part of a lawsuit aimed at having sanctions imposed on Halliburton Energy Services Inc., which was a contractor for BP on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
BP alleges in its filing that Halliburton destroyed evidence on cement testing and violated court orders by not bringing forth "inexplicably missing" computer modeling results.
- The brutal logic of climate change (David Roberts, Grist):
[L]ots of folks in the climate hawk coalition (broadly speaking) have counseled a new approach that backgrounds climate change and refocuses the discussion on innovation, energy security, and economic competitiveness.
This cannot work. At least it cannot work if we hope to avoid terrible consequences. Why not? It's simple: If there is to be any hope of avoiding civilization-threatening climate disruption, the U.S. and other nations must act immediately and aggressively on an unprecedented scale. That means moving to emergency footing. War footing. "Hitler is on the march and our survival is at stake" footing. That simply won't be possible unless a critical mass of people are on board. It's not the kind of thing you can sneak in incrementally.
It is unpleasant to talk like this. People don't want to hear it.
- Essential Climate Science Findings:
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of All Climate Science Denier Arguments
- World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns: If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. "I am very worried - if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever."
- Concise Overview: The IPCC report on extreme climate and weather events (Real Climate)
- READ the IPCC Report: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
- NBC's Must-See TV: "Today No One Can Deny That Extreme Weather is Here to Stay" Thanks to Fossil-Fuel Driven Warming (Climate Progress)